Exploring the veil of the island
After being on this semi-tropical island (Gran Canaria, that is) for almost half a month, we were feeling that there are still so many things to discover about it. So, we took a U-turn and decided to make a road trip or two along the island. Silvia made us a nice route that would drive us through mountains, the core of the island, reaching the ocean on the other side. The route was set, the driver, Roxana, was ready-steady, and all the adventure began.
Pico de las Nieves
The first destination was Pico de las Nieves, the highest point of the island. Going to the top meant driving through narrow roads, with steep curves and blue skies. The climate was changing, the temperature dropped more and more and we could really feel we were getting to different altitude altogether. Yes, the great thing about small islands is that you can reach the beach and the mountains in a very short amount of time, in this case, an hour’s drive sufficed.
Our first stop was a mesmerizing view of the ocean from the top hills. Looking around, the smell of pine trees took us back a bit to our homeland. And at the same time, we knew these faraway brothers have a different story to tell. Then, it hit us. The most drizzling rain possible, came from nowhere, just making the perspective to shift from tens of km to the horizon to just a few meters, and the eyes barely able to look ahead. We jumped into the car and drove further away. When we finally reached the top, it was really nothing to see, not for us at least. The mist covered everything, so just a few cliffs and a sign telling us we are at the top. Such a different experience to the one we had on the Tenerife island – near Teide, that is.
At this point, it was time to get back to the warm and fuzzy feeling of the sea. Of course, as we were heading to the promised land, we first had to take a lot of twists and turns to get there. Unfortunately, the trip ended in this manner, as the weather and Maya did not collaborate, so after heavy rain and heavier crying, our best plan was – let’s continue tomorrow morning!
Tamadaba Natural Park
So, take two. Rise and shine, pack for the sand, let’s go. Today was our day to check out all the island, cross it all over again. We skipped the peak and headed straight to the south-east of the island, now exploring the western coast, and the wilder one. Our first destination was a place called El Lomo.
On the road we had a first pitstop in Agaete, around the harbour area and the natural pools formed by the sea (Las Salinas). So this little spot made us feel a bit at home, with its walkabout, resembled one part of Constanța, our maritime city port. One really impressive part of this immersion of water and land was the fact that natural pools formed and people just helped themselves a bit with some supports to make the experience savourous. With our refreshing walk around the area, we found out from some locals that this coastal part of the island is not so easily accesible by car. This is because of Tamadaba Natural Park – where nature is queen and acces means one road only.
So, here we were, on it. We had to pass through this road that curved the cliffs on one side and saw the sea on the other. It was beautiful, with the sun storming a new path of light and the wind whispering stories of unknown times. Again, it’s time to make a discovery break – we found this incredible spot, that made us understand what really is fantastic about this island. The natural formations are making a true impact on what it means to explore. After a few contemplations of what would feel to fall and never look back, we’re yet again back in our car, driving our way to Puerto de Mogán.
Puerto de Mogan
As the day was ending, we were driving towards the sunset, to catch it at another point, that revealed itself to be such a lovely little harbour. The mission to get there, after a full day of driving, was beginning to feel a little bit challenging to Roxana. At some point there was so much repetitive backround on the road, just crossing the natural park.
Mogan was the spot to meet with Silvia and Ludovic for dinner. And such an incredible sunset we were gifted with. An amazing spectacle indeed. How to end this? Having a stroll through the most charming town the island can offer. Nowhere in Gran Canaria have we found such man-made beauty and delicate flower arcades. Definitely worth a few days to enjoy and be spoiled, next time we travel.
And while our car adventure was intense but short, the rest of the time spent in Gran Canaria really crafted a picture of how would it be to live here. Though we made a promise to come back to the island for even more of the Canarian life, there are some really natural gems we’ve taken to heart.
The way of the island
As you drive towards the south, like it mostly happens, things start to change. Nature takes a different veil, it becomes more tern, more looking towards the sun. That’s always very astonishing to see, how the terrain adapts to the intensity of the light, less vegetation, and the one that actually remains, turning itself into a survival creature.
Transforming itself into huge exotic flowers, spreading out as far as the eye can see. It’s mesmerizing to see the evolution of our planet in such a microcosmic environment. The fast transformation on such a short amount of distance is, on its own, worth the ride. But it was yet to get even better.
The place we landed was amongst Silvia’s preferred on the island. As we got into the city of Maspalomas, a big difference was clear to us. This was a vacation city. People didn’t do their living here – outside the ones working in the hotelier industry. So contrasting from Las Palmas, where you can actually trace people to a few generations back. And, for our taste, the vibrant and lively atmosphere of Las Palmas for sure is our sweet spot.
But even so, Maspalomas has this unimaginable sandy area – The Dunes. Across quite a few hectares, there are sand dunes just before reaching the sea. The hotel we entered through gave us the view. Dunes over dunes, beautiful sand, to cross on top hills, and then with a distant blue ocean view. What a unique mixture of elements. And a lot of memories came running. Memories from another life, the one filled with images of a distant planet.
So we played around, on the dunes, over them, rolling through them and just being funny and adventurous. Will let the video say the rest.
I’ve always enjoyed the highest peaks and the hard rock that one needs to climb. Where else can you get a clear understanding of the past, present, and future? So trekking all the way to the top of the mountains has been a generative force. And Gran Canaria has plenty of those going around.
The most interesting in this visit is the one I took while in Santa Brigida, the small town we lived in for a week. It was especially enriching as Maya was on my side, constructing the world around us as we climbed and climbed to the top. We will be very happy to explore together, more and more, when we will go back to the sweet island life.
The city of Las Palmas is built on the east side of the island, having also this bit of a lip land. On one side, you have the harbor, where so many ships find shelter and a docking home. On the other part, the beach held our hearts for the entire stay. A vibrant spot, having one area dedicated for surfing, and other very suited for chilling under palm trees.
It’s also a place of culture, either that being one of a classic heritage, or one for contemporary art manifestation. In the above photos you see Monica and Silvia, in one of our nice, long walks through the streets of Las Palmas and also a glimpse of our favorite art gallery visited, actually a photo exhibition, held by a French artist.
The lost treasure of it all is the tip – The Confital, where everything takes another shape. The rocks are still the dominant form, this arid terrain looks very enticing and makes you wonder how did the transformation happens.
To reach The Confital is an exploration in and all of itself, so many times it was a pure joy, just to walk with Maya, reaching that point, then watching the sunset on the other side, and maybe catching some surfers, riding the waves. I had no idea, at that point, how much would my surf adventures evolve on the other side of the Atlantic, where the Brazilian coasts stand.
Sharing all of these outer exploration forms on the island of Gran Canaria with you brings me joy. The joy of you exploring them, yourself. So just take my insights as a little gift, when you cut through the mist near the Pico de las Nieves or when you feel the breathtaking sensation in the wind of El Lomo, watching the Tenerife island, so close and yet so far, across the sea. The Dunes during twilight and El Puerto de Mogán during sunset will be with you the rest of your lifetime, imprinted from your retina to your brain and to your heart.
So, let this black and white letters on a display go away and just…
open a new tab to book a flight! Just kidding.
No, just do it.
Ok, Tenerife is also amazing.
Hear from us soon, with new travel stories from our soul, to yours!
post written by Vlad